3 storylines to watch for Sixers' game against Nets team without Kevin Durant

Noah Levick
·4 min read

3 storylines to watch for Sixers' game against Nets team without Durant originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Head coach Doc Rivers and the Sixers on Wednesday reflected on events beyond Wells Fargo Center, including the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. by pro-Trump rioters, and pulled out a wild 141-136 win over the Wizards.

They then took a flight to Brooklyn, where the team will play the Nets as the NBA’s busy work schedule keeps moving forward.

Here are the essentials for Thursday’s game between the 7-1 Sixers and 4-4 Brooklyn:

  • When: 7:30 p.m.

  • Where: Barclays Center 

  • Broadcast: TNT 

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Curry’s scorching shooting

Seth Curry is listed as questionable with left ankle soreness for the Sixers, who will again be missing Furkan Korkmaz (left adductor strain) and Mike Scott (left knee contusion).

It’s possible to shoot better than Curry has through his first eight games with the Sixers, though it’s difficult to fathom.

After posting 28 points Wednesday and making 6 of 7 three-point attempts, Curry is shooting 59.5 percent from long range. That’s No. 1 in the NBA among players who have taken at least 20 threes. He’s scoring 158.1 points per 100 shot attempts, per Cleaning the Glass, an astronomical figure. 

The Sixers’ 62.1 percent mark from three-point range against Washington was their best in a game since Jan. 9, 2016

Many Sixers fans are learning about his skills as a pick-and-roll decision-maker, driver and passer, but none of this is new to Curry.

“Honestly, it’s no different than what I’ve been my whole life, my whole career — just using my shot and doing other stuff off of that,” he said. “I know the respect I’m going to get when I catch and look at the rim, so for me to be a threat at all times I’ve got to be able to put the ball on the floor and be a great passer, as well. ... Just getting more opportunities here to make plays with the ball in my hands. I think the entire team is doing a good job of moving the ball, passing the ball and not being one-dimensional.”

The makeshift Nets 

Brooklyn is without Kevin Durant, who is quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

In response to Durant’s absence, the Nets started Kyrie Irving, Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen on Tuesday, blowing out the Jazz. If they stick with the same lineup, it will be interesting to see whether the Sixers’ second unit can hold its own. 

Joe Harris and Caris LeVert are starter-level players and serious offensive threats. With the way Rivers has been staggering his lineups recently, it would likely make sense to match Ben Simmons up with LeVert whenever possible. Former Sixers Landry Shamet and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are two other players to watch on Brooklyn’s bench. 

Embiid coming through when it counts 

In 14 “clutch minutes” — defined by NBA.com as the last five minutes of a game in which the point differential is five or under — the Sixers have outscored opponents by an NBA-best 23 points.

Joel Embiid is a big reason for that early-season success late in close games, with 16 clutch points and 7 of 8 made free throws. 

“When we’re in those types of situations — whatever you want to call it, closer or whatever — I’ve got to do my job,” he said. “I’ve got to take over and get us some wins. … Credit to my teammates just because, especially with the way teams have been guarding me this year with the constant double and triple teams, at times it’s tough. But when you’ve got teammates that keep knocking down shots, it becomes easier for me. We’ve just got to stay the course and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

While the Sixers don’t have much in the way of perimeter shot creation, Embiid’s knack for drawing fouls and scoring at a high rate out of the post has carried them thus far.

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